Meet the Executive Director…
Fred Anderson is the executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society as well as the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies. In 1979 he became the first full-time executive director of the Historical Society which itself was founded in 1876. In 1999 the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies was launched and Fred Anderson was the founding director.
Fred Anderson is a teacher, librarian and historian by background and training. He is a native of Albany, Georgia. He earned his undergraduate degree at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He also earned a master’s degree in education/history at the University of West George and a master’s degree in library science from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He attended a summer study on 17th century Baptist history at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, England. He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Bluefield College.
Fred Anderson is an active Baptist layman. He is a member of River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond where he has served as a deacon. He is the historian of the Richmond Baptist Association. He has served as clerk of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and recording secretary of its Mission Board since November 1982.
Fred Anderson wrote a regular column on Baptist heritage for the Religious Herald from 1983 until the Herald's transition to an on-line news source at the first of 2014. In his 30-year run as a Herald columnist, he filed Over 1,100 columns. He gathered 100 of his favorites and published them in a book entitled Playing Favorites & Getting Personal. He also is the author of some 13 books including histories of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia, Goshen Baptist Association, Richmond Baptist Association, and several churches including the First Baptist churches of Danville, Roanoke and Richmond. He also wrote the history of the Fredericksburg Baptist Church. In 2007 he wrote God’s Stories: An Illustrated History of Baptists in Virginia as well as a companion booklet for children, God’s Stories for Children. In 2010 he wrote a lengthy biography of George Braxton Taylor, the founder of the Sunbeams, which was publshed in the Virginia Baptist Register. Entitled Sunbeams & Shadows, the biography was based upon reading the numerous diaries kept by Dr. Taylor. He also wrote in 2012 an extensive biography of Dr. George White McDaniel after reading some 25,000 letters in the McDaniel collection at the VBHS.
Fred Anderson frequently speaks at churches and before other groups. He is often invited to speak at church anniversaries and homecomings. He also often appears in costume as a character from Baptist history. He has presented Dr. William E. Hatcher, a noted 19th-century minister, on over 400 occasions. He also has presented Elder John Leland, the prominent 18th-century Baptist spokesman for religious liberty, for over 60 occasions including an appearance on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.
Fred Anderson, whether in costume or as himself, is a storyteller. Thousands of visitors to the Heritage Gallery have heard him tell the stories of Virginia Baptists and their contributions to the securing of religious liberty and their advances in the area of missions.
Fred Anderson serves on the Baptist Heritage & Identity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. He has attended the Commission's meetings in locations around the world.